CANCUN / Writing / BLACK GOLD.- The bishop of the Cancun-Chetumal Prelature, Pedro Pablo Elizondo, partially lifted the ban imposed two years ago on Fr. Pablo Pérez Guajardo, LC, “The Rebel Padre” for criticizing the Legionaries of Christ.
In September 2012, the bishop forbade Pérez Guajardo to officiate Mass after he had publicly asked the congregation to apologize for the abuses of Fr. Marcial Maciel and after he denounced corruption and conspiracy between the then mayor of Solidarity (Playa del Carmen), Filiberto Martinez, and Legionary of Christ priests in the area.
The punishment increased in September 2014, when Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo ordered the priests of the churches attached to their region not give communion or baptize children whose parents and godparents received pre-baptismal preparation from Fr. Pablo Pérez Guajardo.
According to the silenced priest the bishop’s “forgiveness” occurred the 27 Dec last., on the 50th anniversary of the ordination of the pastor of Fatima Parish, Playa del Carmen, Fr. Miguel Parra-Merlos.
“As they were about to start the celebration of Mass, I went up to the bishop and asked if I could con- celebrate with Fr. Miguel Parra in the Mass of thanksgiving. The bishop, red and tense, responded: ‘You are Legionary priest, as a visiting priest you can always con-celebrate, but I do not authorize you to perform baptisms or weddings’ .”
Fr. Perez’ ordeal began after he had written to then Superior General, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, RIP., to ask the congregation to formally denounce the founder of the order, Marcial Maciel, accused of pedophilia and corruption.
Interviewed by Apro in May 2012, Fr. Perez recalled that the difficulties began when he sent a letter to Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, superior general of Legionaries of Christ at that time, asking him to totally debunk the myth of Father Maciel “and talk plain because Maciel was a rapist, a pederast, a womanizer and a drunkard “.
The priest is not only criticized the abuses committed by Legionaries of Christ but also the excesses of local municipal governments as he carried out his priestly duties among marginalized communities. These pastoral works, alleges Fr. Perez, led to his difficulties, culminating in the the withdrawal of his priestly faculties. Two years had passed since he began pointing out in detail some of the abuses of the Legionaries of Christ in Quintana Roo State and their collaboration with the municipal president of Solidarity, Filiberto Martinez.
In his struggle to be re-vindicated as a priest, Perez Guajardo has experienced rejection at the hands of people he trusted. After his silencing by Bishop Elizondo in the Cancun-Chetumal diocese, Perez-Guajardo was received by his home diocese. But it seems that the Bishop of Saltillo, Mons. Raúl Vera López, at the request of the Legionaries of Christ later withdrew his consent. Faced with this obstacle, Fr. Pablo returned to Quintana Roo.
Ordained on 3 January 1991 by Pope John Paul II and with over seven years working in Playa del Carmen, Fr. Pablo had direct contact with disgraced Legion of Christ Founder, Marcial Maciel, because from 1986 to 2006 he worked in Rome at the Directorate General of Legionaries of Christ in various support tasks in the Historical Archives, the General Secretariat and the General Administration.
He said that during his latter years in the Italian capital, Maciel would take off all weekend. Maciel’s close aides explained that he was taking time off to recover from his various ailments and overload. In fact, Perez states, “Macial was staying at the nearby Hilton in rendezvous with his lovers.”
In 2006 Fr. Pablo returned to Mexico to be with his mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer. After she passed away he traveled for a few months different states, as a companion of Father Javier Molina, to raise funds and to “give spiritual direction” to donors.
A year later he came to Quintana Roo, to the Cancun-Chetumal Prelature, and after spending a few months in the state capital, Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo assigned him to Playa del Carmen.
With only 20 pesos in his pocket, recalls Fr. Pablo, he came the green-collar community of “La Guadalupana”, which has a church of the same name, in a very remote area of the city center and with serious social problems and with one the highest number of suicides in the municipality of Solidaridad, which he covered together with Tulum Mayan communities.
Pérez Guajardo chose to carry out not only his strictly priestly duties to be outreach the communities socially, many of whose members were immigrants from the states of Tabasco and Chiapas.
“I never imagined that I would ever attract any particular notice from church authorities for my work there, recalls Fr. Pablo.
Gradually he connected with his community and its presence was extended to four colonies of so-called start-ups neighborhoods beyond Playa del Carmen center.
In 2010, outraged by reports against Marcial Maciel, he decided to send the letter to then Superior General, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera; but the response came through Legion of Christ local Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo, his religious superior.
“The bishop was very upset accusing me of splintering “ecclesial unity”. Some of the Playa del Carmen parents complained to bishop Elizondo that I was applying the Theology of Liberation. To which I replied that I was not applying the Theology of Liberation, but being around needy people.”